Photo credit: Andrew Foord/Cheddar
When Bradley Smith ‘12 describes Cheddar, one word that comes to mind is “disruptive.”
Being different in both target and delivery than other news organizations on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Cheddar could be seen as the successful little brother to media giants such as CNBC and Bloomberg. But Cheddar’s unconventional ways work well for Smith, who says working with an organization with such an atypical approach is exactly where he wants to be.
After graduating from Drexel LeBow with a major in marketing, becoming an anchor on a news network doesn’t seem like an obvious job prospect, but for Smith, it was a natural progression.
“When I got into broadcast media, I proceeded in the same way that I approach music,” said Smith, a drummer who attended the University on a music scholarship. “You watch the greats, the people who are succeeding at what you’re attempting to do, and you learn from them. Study them. From there, you develop your own style.”
Having worked as a social video producer and host at Nasdaq, Smith was familiar with the ways that online streaming services could be used to appeal to the business-minded millennial. “I saw the landscape changing, especially with marketing and social media. Within the first six months we started a social media task force to enhance our visibility and make it something more formal and put a natural team around it,” said Smith. But to him, Cheddar takes it one step further.
With a focus on business and tech, Cheddar aims to be the next generation of news, filling the gap Smith says he’s seen in business coverage. “With us, you get your questions answered because we’re not afraid to explain things or share when a topic is new to us too,” said Smith.
Smith joined the team roughly eight months after Cheddar’s debut but says he was well-aware of the company long before. “I was watching Cheddar even before I joined. Not only because they were reporting from Nasdaq but because these were people who were very much like me,” said Smith. “I equated their experience to mine. We’re hitting on some of the questions that people have but are afraid to ask sometimes.”
The company’s bright slice of cheese logo is becoming increasingly recognizable to a variety of demographics, supporting its claim of being the “leading post-cable networks company.” With a reportedly $11 million in revenue last year, Cheddar’s live networks – Cheddar and the recently launched Cheddar Big News (CBN) – just joined Hulu’s Live TV channel lineup and YouTube TV, after already streaming through Sling TV, Amazon, Twitter, and devices such as Apple TV a little over a year after getting started.
Smith credits this success to Cheddar’s unorthodox way of relating to the audience. “Everyone has their own perspective that they bring to the table. All of that brings us to this position where we say, it doesn’t matter what [competitor] we’re going up against, we’re going to trust the person to our right and to our left and we’re going to present content in a way that it hasn’t been presented before,” said Smith. “Each one of us is committed to engaging with the audience. We approach it differently in that regard. It’s a two-way conversation. And I think that’s why we’re able to connect with people.”
Smith’s segment is live on the network weekdays during the midday segment.